Menthol cigarettes to be banned

Smokey: European parliament votes on menthol ban
Smokey: European parliament votes on menthol ban
Ian Dunt By

Menthol cigarettes will be banned, after the European parliament passed a raft of draconian anti-smoking laws.

MEPs voted to accept revisions to the European tobacco products directive, in a decision which also increased health warnings on packs and outlawed smaller packs of rolling tobacco.

From 2022, menthol cigarettes and other flavurs of tobacco wil be banned throughout Europe.

Smokers' group Forest has organised a letter-writing campaign against the plans, with 44,675 letters emailed to politicians in Westminster and Brussels.

"The response to our campaign highlights how strongly people feel about these illiberal and potentially irresponsible measures," Simon Clark, director of Forest, said.

"There is no evidence the directive will reduce smoking rates among children and every chance it will encourage illicit trade. Meanwhile law-abiding adults will be prohibited from buying products they have purchased and enjoyed for many years."

Proposals by the public health committee being put to the European parliament today attempted to classify electronic cigarettes as medicinal products, which would have imposed a much more rigorous and costly authorisation procedure on the items.

The move, which was defeated, would have seen the product removed from the shelves at least temporarily in the UK, as authorities have made it clear no existing product would satisfy the proposed standards.

That prospect sent a chill up the spine of many users, who rely on the vapour product to stay off real cigarettes

"Thousands of e-cigarette users have pleaded with the European parliament not to take these products off the shelves," said Conservative MEP Martin Callanan, who tabled an amendment to the vote that would only require e-cigarettes to go through the same authorisation process as traditional tobacco products.

"The products have helped people to move away from traditional tobacco, so they should at least be treated in the same manner as tobacco products.

"This is a victory for common sense."


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